Command option patterns

Here are some common patterns in Unix command options. This is a summary of the patterns Eric Raymond describes here.

Option Typical meaning
-a All, append
-b Buffer,block size, batch
-c Command, check
-d Debug, delete, directory
-D Define
-e Execute, edit
-f File, force
-h Headers, help
-i Initialize
-I Include
-k Keep, kill
-l List, long, load
-m Message
-n Number, not
-o Output
-p Port, protocol
-q Quiet
-r Recurse, reverse
-s Silent, subject
-t Tag
-u User
-v Verbose
-V Version
-w Width, warning
-x Enable debugging, extract
-y Yes
-z Enable compression


7 thoughts on “Command option patterns

  1. What is your opinion of the long-form, gnu-style options such as –version and the like?

  2. This looks terrifyingly like the Latin declension tables I once had to memorise. I hope this table doesn‘t end up being used the same way.

  3. I met ESR while he was collecting research for that.

    He presented his early findings and asked us, if he had missed any.

    I said ‘-h’ and thus made a tiny impact on history.

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